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RECTOR, William

JACOBS, NENNEMAN, WASHINGTON, WAUBONSIE, GASTON, RECTOR, BARRITT, SMITH

Posted By: volunteer
Date: 3/25/2007 at 15:49:45

Submitted by WF
THE SIDNEY ARGUS - HERALD
Sidney, Iowa
May 30, 1940

"A Soldier They Forgot -- By Rev. Peter Jacobs".-- He served his country long ago. His father served in the Revolutionary War. His oldest son died in the Southland during the Civil War. A younger son served with the "Border Brigade" ready to defend the Union against guerilla warfare. This man was an American patriot. But they forgot.

His name was not on the local honor rolls of the nation's dead. No patriotic organization ever placed flowers on his grave. Memorial Day after Memorial Day passed by but no flag floated over his mound. No marker designated that in this grave was a soldier dead. No eulogies of American patriotism included his name. They did not remember him as one who had served his country. They did not think of him as one who had fought in behalf of his native land. He was forgotten.

They forgot that he was a soldier. How easily folks forget! How quickly they forget! In a little spot just large enough for two graves was laid the form of this patriot. The other grave is that of his companion. An iron fence surrounds the two graves. A tombstone gives only their names, the dates of their birth and death. This grave, at the foot of the Waubonsie hills that slope toward the "Muddy Waters," is on the Ernst Nenneman farm one and a half miles north of highway No. 3.

No uniformed soldiers gather annually on Decoration Day about his grave. No bugle sounds taps. He is buried upon the land that he homesteaded. It has been 127 years since he served his country. It has been 67 years since he fell asleep. He was born when George Washington was president of the United States. He was born May 10, 1792. He served in the first war in which our republic engaged, the War of 1812 - 14. He was a pioneer of western Iowa who came to the Waubonsie hills before Fremont county was organized. He came here in 1847. He came here while Chief Waubonsie and his Pottawattamies were still in the land. He was a pioneer preacher who laid the foundations for some of the earliest Methodist churches in southwest Iowa.

There was no record of this soldier among the county files. There was no record of his miltaryservice in the family geneologies. There was little if any knowledge of his being a patriot among the kinfolk still living.

How did it happen that somebody became interested? A passing remark by a pioneer neighbor left its impress. Hiram Brown, patriarch of the Waubonsie hills, in speaking of earliest settlers in the commmunity made the statement that William Rector had served in the War of 1812 - 14. This patriarch passed away before further information was secured to confirm the facts. The remark was not forgotten. It led to investigation and research.

Somebody was concerned. Somebody cared. Somebody was determined to honor the memory of this American soldier, this western Iowa pioneer, this founder of Methodism in this part of the state. It was learned that Mrs. George Gaston of Glenwood had the Rector geneology. It contained no record of his military service. There was not as much as an intimation that he had ever borne arms in behalf of his native land. With the information she received and with the information in the family record she corresponded with the veterans administration in Washington, D. C.

Uncle Sam did not forget. In the government files was his record. They showed that William Rector enlisted at Urbane, Champaign county, Ohio, August 12, 1812, that he served as a private in Captain Abner Barritt's company of Ohio militia and was discharged Feb. 12, 1813. He married in Nicholas county, Kentucky Oct. 1, 1851, Elizabeth Smith. William Rector applied for bounty land May 5, 1851 at which time he was 59 years of age and was living in Fremont county, Iowa. He received warrant No. 32916 for 80 acres under the act of Sept. 28, 1950 (sic). He applied for additional bounty land April 25, 1855. He was allowed and received warrant No. 32493 for 80 acres under the act of May 10, 1871 (sic) at which time he was living in Sidney township, Fremont County, Iowa. One Benjamin Rector was living in 1855, relationship not given.

A soldier they forgot! Yes, there were evidences that he had been a soldier.The remark of the neighbor, statements in letters written by his son Benjamin Rector who served and died in the Civil War. Yes, they knew. But no one saw to it that his military record was placed on file. They forgot.

How many American soldiers lie beneath Iowa sod who have been forgotten?


 

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